Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brugman, Alyssa. Alex As Well.

Brugman, Alyssa.  Alex As Well.  Macmillan/Henry Holt 2015  214p  16.99 978-1-62779-014-7  hs  Conflict  VG-BN   

Born with body parts associated with both sexes, Alex can identify with both maleness and femaleness.  But she has recently decided that if she has to choose one sex, it will be female. Unfortunately her parents have the opposite idea, and they keep feeding her testosterone hormones, referring to her as “he” and insisting on sending her to an all-boys’ school. After a brutal bullying event, Alex takes it upon herself to switch schools, stop the hormones, and identify as a girl. She is very much alone in her quest to find her true identity and be happy in her own skin. Her own parents are self-centered and unable to understand her feelings, and many regard her as a freak and refuse to deal with her as a fellow human being. The only one who becomes an ally is the lawyer she engages to help her in her struggle, and at the same time, she finds that she is valued by the fashion industry because she has the looks and carriage of a model.

There are very few teen novels that deal with the phenomenon of the intersex child.  Partly for this reason, this is an important book. There are some expressions that are Australian instead of American, but they will be easily understood because of context. This is a book for older teens, and especially for kids who are intersex themselves.   

Summary:  This Australian import concerns an intersex teen who has been raised as a boy but feels more like a girl.  Alex finds very few people who can really empathize, including Alex’s own family, which makes navigating identity issues painfully difficult.         

Sexual identity-Fiction                                     --Carol Kennedy

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